Alamieyeseigha’s pardon, symbol of corrupt mentality —Soyinka, NBA

Alamieyeseigha_588313623By  Akeem Lasisi and Ihuoma Chiedozie

The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has described the state pardon granted a former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, by President Goodluck Jonathan,  as an act of impunity and a symbol of corrupt mentality.

Also,the Nigerian Bar Association on Wednesday described the pardon as a bad signal in the anti- campaign.

Alamieyeseigha, who convicted of , pardoned alongside other ex-convicts, including Shettima Bulama, Lt. General Oladipo Diya, Major-General  Tajudeen Olanrewaju, the late Major General Musa Yar’Adua and the late Major-General Abdukareem Adisa.

Soyinka, on Wednesday, lent his voice to those of civil society groups, international community and individuals who had stridently condemned the President’s action.

He spoke in Lagos during a programme ushering in the Lagos Black Heritage Festival.

Referring to a made by the Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati, who had, on a TV programme, described those who are criticising Jonathan over the matter as suffering from “sophisticated ignorance”, Soyinka said he did not mind being called such a name for bearing his mind on the state pardon.

“On the state pardon granted the former governor, I want to join the bandwagon of the ignorant persons. I am happy to be counted among them. For me, this kind of impunity not unconnected to the controversy, which has been surrounding the N4bn allocation being sought by the First Lady Mission. It part of the same corrupt mentality,” he said.

The renowned writer added that it also disappointing that ministers had given contradictory interpretations to the object of the pardon.

Soyinka said it was not right for Jonathan to lump Alamieyeseigha’s  case  with those of the other people granted pardon alongside him.

According to him, the cases of other ex-convicts were largely political, as evident in the antics of the late Sanni Abacha junta that implicated them in a controversial coup.

The Nobel laureate said, “What going on right now gives the picture of a government that floundering and justifying the unjustifiable. It amounts to encouragement of . The felon wanted by the United States Government.  We have a case of an officer of the – a governor – who went to another country and broke the of the nation. He jumped bail.

“I believe that such a person does not deserve a state pardon. So, I have joined the league of the ignorant persons condemning  the act. I criticise and deplore President Jonathan for granting  pardon to the former governor.”

Reacting to the development after inaugurating the web-portal of the NBA in Abuja, NBA President, Mr. Okey Wali, , said the presidential pardon had sent a bad signal in the on corruption.

But he also noted that Jonathan acted within his constitutional powers.

“It is no doubt a moral issue; it is a bad signal in the against corruption.”

Noting that the President’s action was constitutional, in line with the provisions of section 175 of the 1999 Constitution, Wali added, “Nigerians have made their feelings known.”

He also reacted to plans by the Government to finally remove the subsidy on petroleum products.

Jonathan had, at the Nigerian Economic Summit in Lagos on Wednesday, said the Government would still remove .

The NBA has, however, asked the Government to fulfill its promise to far-reaching palliative measures before the final removal of in the country.

The NBA President urged the Federal Government to make good its promise to palliative measures in order to alleviate the hardship imposed on Nigerians as a of the hike in the price of petroleum products.

Wali said, “We believe that the government will fulfill its promise to Nigerians.

“The NBA still has not seen much of the promise but we strongly believe that they will keep to their word by putting all the necessary infrastructure in place before taking any further action on .”

Wali aso said the NBA was committed to enforcing discipline in the legal profession.

Features of the web portal include the full list of all the lawyers called to the Bar, as registered in the Supreme Court from the pre-Independence days till date.

It also contains the profiles of over 25,000 active lawyers, who have carried out their verification exercise, as directed by the NBA in 2011.

Source:The PUNCH

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